Let’s start at the very beginning …

(… a very good place to start. When you read you begin with a, b, c. When you sing you begin with do, re, mi. Do, re, mi. The first three notes just happen to be do, re, mi …)

And here we are with another day at the end of which I fell asleep without hitting “publish.” And I didn’t realize it until I logged on to write something for tonight. (insert exhausted eye-roll here). So tonight is another double-up night. I just can’t bear to fall two poems behind. I’ve still got April 1st looming over me, I don’t need to add to that count! Here’s the post and poem I wrote yesterday:

Trying to wrap m head around the ghazal. Still. Something I thought about last night is that the description of the form very specifically states that subjects for these poems “included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.”

Um … am I supposed to keep that in mind along with all the rules of the form? Am I supposed to be writing a month’s worth of poems about erotic longing (ha! as if!) or religious beliefs and mysticism? I mean really. One is just as unlikely as the other.

Yeah, I can’t take that on. Religion and eroticism might slip into my writing every once in a while, but every single day? On purpose? No, ma’am. Not this griot girl. Not hardly.

But I still wonder if my completely forgetting that note is in any way connected to the difficulty I’ve had all month trying to get these poems written. And I think about the couple of poems that came more easily than the others. The knitting poem on the fourth and the hyacinths back on the eighth. The poems on the twelfth (subway attack) and the second knitting poem on the fifteen … and maybe yesterday’s poem as I daydreamed about my upcoming writing residency …

Okay, that’s actually many more poems than I’d have guessed before going back to look through the last two weeks. How did that happen? For real. How?

So what was true on those days? What was different from the other days? Or maybe it’s just normal that only a quarter of the poems would feel easier to write than the rest? Maybe there’s no secret to this other than that note I found in my desk drawer at my 2019 residency: Begin Again / Keep Going.

Always Prologue

Empty spaces hard to fill so deep in the past.
Moving, not moving, haunted still, so deep in the past.

Try to push on, but caught up in old stories –
grist running through my mind’s mill, so deep in the past

Prospecting for a future I have to create,
possibilities to fulfill – so deep in the past

I, too, have tried, found ways to write my way out
such pressure placed on ink and quill so deep in the past

And I, Stacie, keep turning the soil, dropping seeds
stubborn hope that pain can’t kill, so deep in the past

And here’s tonight’s poem. I’m definitely not in love with it, but I’ll take it.

Circular Breathing

I stand ready, arms wide, both my hands open
Impatient, but patient, waiting, I try – hands open.

Should I pause or keep searching, no answers here.
All actions are hollow, fruitless, dry – hands open.

Optimism feeds fools, paints pictures, tells tales.
When the shine rubs off, we see the lie. Hands open.

Can you hold truth on your tongue, keep it safe, silent?
Always needed and in short supply, hands open.

I, Stacie, struggle to find balance, trust mercy
lead with gratitude and peace, retry, hands open.

National Poetry Month 2022: the Ghazal

As I’ve done for more than ten years (what?!), I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April … and I’m saying that boldly, knowing that I’ve already failed. I couldn’t find my way through to a poem on Day One, but I’m determined to continue.

The “Ghazal” is the form I’ve chosen for this year. Here is the structure and a little backstory (thank you Poetry Foundation):

“Originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love, medieval Persian poets embraced the ghazal, eventually making it their own. Consisting of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets, the form also has an intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase (the radif), and is preceded by the couplet’s rhyming word (the qafia, which appears twice in the first couplet). The last couplet includes a proper name, often of the poet’s. In the Persian tradition, each couplet was of the same meter and length, and the subject matter included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.”

Should be interesting!

2 thoughts on “Let’s start at the very beginning …

  1. Lainie Levin

    “Hands open.” There is so much here. There’s openness, expectation, trust, honesty – all of it.

    It’s interesting that you mention your difficulty in writing this month. I definitely feel the same. April is a hard month for me emotionally, and I always charge into April ready to take on poetry month, and then a birthday rolls by here, an anniversary/commemoration there, and I remember why April is so hard. Maybe I’ll celebrate my own poetry month in a safer time, like June =)


    1. I wish you a beautiful poetry month in whichever month you may choose to have it. I’m sorry this month is challenging emotionally for you. Knowing that makes me even more grateful that you choose to spend some of your time reading and commenting here. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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